MBP 15'' late 2016 & liquid metal thermal paste tests

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ionantonak, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. ionantonak, Mar 1, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017

    ionantonak macrumors newbie

    ionantonak

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #1
    Hello everyone, this is my first post in these forums so if I make any mistakes please let me know.

    As the title suggests I had the idea to swap the stock thermal compound of my Mac with the thermal grizzly conductonaut. The model that I have has the Radeon pro 460 and the 6820HQ.

    To be honest I didn't have any temperature problems but as an engineer I always like to experiment with stuff and teardown the devices that I own. I do realise that Liquid metal isn't happy when it hangs out with aluminium and that it can kill board connections but yolo and since no-one else had done it for the 2016 I decided to go with it.

    Disassembly (factory thermal paste):
    fullsizeoutput_3ec.jpeg

    Cleaning it up:
    fullsizeoutput_3e6.jpeg

    Applying the 33+ electrical tape to avoid any shorts and the liquid metal itself:
    IMG_1048.JPG IMG_1049.JPG

    (Note that this bead of liquid metal was used for the CPU, GPU and the heatsinks)

    So I spread the thermal compound and plugged everything back together; btw apple keeps on making the laptops more difficult to take apart.

    And the results are in... Not that exciting to be honest 4-5 degrees Celsius at max. At this point I should point out that I didn't have a good base line, I used MKBHD's 8k video while having the automatic graphics switching off (using the AMD gpu) and with the fans set at either default or at 100% using istat menus.

    Stock:
    default fan settings - 82 degrees Celsius
    100% fan speed - 60 degrees Celsius

    Conductonaut:
    default fan settings - 74 degrees Celsius
    100% fan speed - 58 degrees Celsius

    Now I moved to Windows 10 (I use bootcamp) and used Furmark and prime95 to stress test everything with the fans always at 100% while using the Conductonaut.

    Furmark:
    CPU - peak package temp 79 degrees Celsius
    GPU - peak package temp 62 degrees Celsius

    Prime95:
    CPU - peak package temp 91 degrees Celsius
    GPU - peak package temp 66 degrees Celsius

    Furmark & Prime95 (small FFTs):
    CPU - peak package temp 79 degrees Celsius
    GPU - peak package temp 73 degrees Celsius

    I will try to update the post with more info as soon as I have time and to be honest I will probably change the paste back to something like this as it is not worth the risk for these temps.

    If you have Windows 10 and time please run the same benchmarks for 5 minutes and post the results to see if it actually makes a bigger difference.

    (Note that throughout my testing the room temp didn't change that much as I was monitoring the palm rest sensor 2 at all the time and it was at a ~20 degrees Celsius. I know that this is not the proper way to do it but who has time for science :p )
     
  2. jerryk macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #2
    Wow, you put a lot of paste on those surfaces.

    I just use a tiny bit of Artic Silver or other compound. Just enough to fill in the irregularity of the surfaces.
     
  3. ionantonak thread starter macrumors newbie

    ionantonak

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #3
    That is the thermal paste coming from the factory believe it or not, I swapped it for the liquid metal :)
     
  4. jerryk macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #4
    I was referring to the liquid metal.
     
  5. ionantonak thread starter macrumors newbie

    ionantonak

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #5
    That amount was spread over the CPU and GPU and the heatsink for both as thinly as possible plus I used the included q-tip which absorbed some of it as well, I should have taken more pictures to be honest but still it wouldn't explain the temps
     
  6. bartvk, Mar 1, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017

    bartvk macrumors 6502

    bartvk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    Very, very nice work. Especially grateful for the detailed photos.

    Also, I think the result is pretty good. Basically you got a ten percent improvement, that's very cool. Makes me wonder why Apple didn't do so.

    Edit: ah, I get it... While applying the liquid metal, you were using the tape to prevent spreading outside the lid. I can see why Apple doesn't use liquid metal, I bet this causes yield issues.
     
  7. jerryk macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #7
    I wonder what temps this system would get with a good quality thermal paste properly applied. I remember I got the temps down 10C+ on a Dell i7 laptop by simply removing the factory applied thermal paste, cleaning it up (it was literally dripping down the sides of the main board), and using a dab of Arctic Silver paste.
     
  8. ionantonak thread starter macrumors newbie

    ionantonak

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #8
    Thanks very much, yeah the whole liquid metal idea is quite dodgy on it own. It makes sense that no company is using it at the moment, as a tiny spill can take out a complete board or CPU.

    I did the same thing on an Alienware 15 two years ago and noticed a huge difference. I believe that in my case and in general MacBooks are not limited that much by their thermal compound but by the cooler itself. There is no way that ~80W can be dissipated from that tiny heat pipe and the small fins, the surface area is just not enough. On the other hand it makes some sense to cheap out on the thermal paste cause when you ship millions of them even a 0.10 £ or $ will lead to loads of more profit
     
  9. Calby macrumors 6502

    Calby

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Location:
    Sweden, Gävle
    #9
    Not to bee that guy but... do you have the logicboard on a carpet?
    That's really ESD dangurus.
     
  10. Mindinversion macrumors 6502

    Mindinversion

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #10
    On the bright side, factory paste application looks really good. I've seen some teardown where it looked like someone used an entire tube of thermal paste on a single laptop ;)
     
  11. ionantonak thread starter macrumors newbie

    ionantonak

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #11
    no worries, it is on a microfibre cloth. Not the best option but I did ground myself before opening it up which helps
     
  12. jerryk macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2011
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    SF Bay Area
    #12
    But, hey look at the skinny design. Slimness at all costs!
     
  13. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #13
    The new MBPs haven't shown any issues with heat, so that may be why there's no additional paste.
     
  14. ionantonak thread starter macrumors newbie

    ionantonak

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #14
    I never said that it overheated or anything, I just tried something that I could not find online. In any case with thermal compounds it is not about quantity, it is about quality, application and thermal conductivity. In most cases something like Arctic Silver 5 or the Gelid extreme is much better than the factory stuff
     
  15. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #15
    I understand. My point is that there's no basis for supposing that the new MBPs are excessively thin or that they skimp on thermal paste based on their actual heat management, which is excellent.
     

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